Midway

| Analysis | Production | Transcript | Fan Reviews

Teal'c visits Atlantis to counsel a headstrong Ronon, who is up for review by the I.O.A. But the two must work together when the Wraith invade the Midway space station in order to reach Earth.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 9.44 
NIELSEN - 1.3 
EPISODE #417
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.15.08
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 03.16.09
DVD DISC: Season 4, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Carl Binder
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS:

Christopher Judge (Teal’c), Rob LaBelle (Mr. Coolidge), Bill Dow (Bill Lee), Scott Heindl (Wraith Leader), Ben Cotton (Kavanagh), Brendan Penny (Wraith Technician), Gary Jones (Walter Harriman), Toren Atkinson (Dempster), Chuck Campbell (Chuck), Nickolas Baric (Hester), James Chutter (Wraith Scientist)

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ANALYSIS

  • The “Previously on Stargate Atlantis …” opening recap includes a good portion of McKay’s explanation of the Intergalactic Gate Bridge, which occurred in the opening moments of the third season episode “The Return, Part 1.” But there is extra dialogue tacked on here that did not actually occur in that episode (but which will be important for setting up “Midway”: Rodney states that “The program is completely secure — no need for a shield or an iris.”

    Of course it is Midway Station’s lack of safeguards on the Stargates themselves that allowed the Wraith to penetrate the station. Rodney believed his closed-network system of Stargates to be unhackable, and this hubris prevented Earth from the sort of security redundancy that could have avoided this incident.

  • The Milky Way gate on board Midway had been locked out with a security code, which must be input into the station’s dialing computer in order to allow the gate to be dialed at all. This code is evidently different than the iris code, which is transmitted by radio to notify Stargate Command to open the iris guarding Earth’s Stargate.
  • MSgt. Walter Harriman does report receiving a dedicated I.D.C. (iris deactivation code) from Midway, prompting him to open the iris for the Wraith. This suggests that the iris code is built in to the Gate Bridge systems, or automatically transmitted by the Midway computer after the security code has been entered and the Milky Way gate dialed.
  • Just how is the iris code transmission relayed to Earth? For a direct connection between two Stargates it would be simple enough: radio waves travel through the open wormhole just like matter (and, unlike matter, can even be transmitted in both directions). But the gate bridge uses dozens of Stargates to relay transiting matter, one connection at a time, so that only two proximate gates are open at any given time. When Earth’s Stargate activates at the end of the chain, Midway’s gate has been inactive for several minutes. How, then, can the S.G.C. receive an iris code via radio transmission?

    There are a couple of possible explanations, both of which require some speculation beyond what the show has revealed about the Gate Bridge. One is that the Stargates simply are capable of storing a radio transmission in the buffer, along with transiting matter, and re-transmitting the signal to the next gate. In this case, the final gate in the void would have to be programmed to send the radio signal first, but delay the matter (inbound travelers) for several seconds — to give the S.G.C. time to open the iris and not let anyone splatter their atoms against it. (The delay can be easily explained by the amount of time it takes travelers to enter the wormhole after the first gate has been activated.)

    If it is the case that Stargates do not hold and re-transmit radio signals like they do matter, the second possibility is that scientists modified the Stargates in the bridge to outfit them with radio transmitters. This would allow simple Earth technology to receive the radio signal and, once the next gate has been dialed, automatically re-transmit it through the wormhole.

  • Another unexplained issue with the Gate Bridge concerns powering each of the 34 Stargates in the chain. This is simple enough for the Pegasus gates, which (when located in space) have three power nodes enabling them to dial out. But we’ve never seen such a technology deployed for a Milky Way gate, which needs to be connected to a D.H.D. or other power source in order to dial out. (Unpowered gates can receive incoming wormholes, which are powered by the sending gate.)

    The most likely scenario would be that Earth scientists improvised a power source (such as a small naquadah generator) and attached it to each Milky Way gate when they were deployed into the void between galaxies. It is also conceivable that a Stargate can store a small charge from the wormhole once it is dialed, giving it enough power to dial out once (much like the S.G.C. gate retained enough power for a single dial-out after being disconnected from its power source in “Nemesis”) — though there is no evidence elsewhere in canon that Stargates behave this way.

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “After taking time off to do a little fishing, Carl is heavy into ‘Midway.’ It’ll be great to finally see the big men spar. It’ll also be nice to have Kavanagh back. Unfortunately, he won’t find his return quite as enjoyable.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “In Season Three we set up the Midway station. And we’re going to follow that through, through a good part of Season Four. But in sci-fi nothing lasts forever and the best laid plans often go awry. So if you get your heart set on the Midway station, you may be disappointed.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, at the Stargate Atlantis Comic-Con panel)
  • “Christopher Judge showed up this year, which was fantastic. And it was actually — it made a lot of sense. Most of the episode he does is with Ronon, and as the resident expert on being the new alien on board, Teal’c has a lot of information he can pass on to Ronon, a lot of expertise.

    “When I talked to Joe Mallozzi he said the fans have always wondered in a fight between Ronon and Teal’c, who would win. So this episode sort of addresses that.” (Actress Amanda Tapping, in a Stargate Atlantis media press conference)

  • “Damn fine episode. Teal’c and Ronon kick mucho Wraith ass — when they’re not beating the crap out of each other.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his blog)